Tata Motors on a high with Tiago, gears up for Hexa

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018

HEXA - Image 1

Confidence levels are now back in the passenger car business

Mayank Pareek believes the mojo is back at Tata Motors’ car business thanks to the good showing of the Tiago launched in April. According to the President of the Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, the model reflects the company’s new impact design philosophy.

“There is positive word-of-mouth with more Tiagos now on the roads,” says Pareek. The sales pitch for the car was also different with customers asked to drive it. “Long winded sales talk does not help and only wastes people’s time,” he adds.

The positive market response is more than welcome, especially when the company’s car business was literally in the doldrums till not-so-long ago. There were huge expectations from the Nano at the time of its launch but the cheap car association just did not help its cause and it could not recover from this setback.

As Pareek says, there was a big gap from the Tata stable in launching new cars between 2009 and 2014. The Bolt and Zest were only bridge products after the big ticket Nano launch. During this five-year period, competitors were far more aggressive and launched 48 new models.

“To survive, despite all that, is a big thing and we have now begun a transformation drive in products, productivity, customer engagement, processes and so on. We are working on network, internal improvements in quality and reorganisation,” says Pareek.

Tiago has a waiting period of three months and plans are underway to ramp up production. The fact that its more expensive top-end version accounts for 60 per cent of sales shows that it has been truly accepted as a brand. Beyond Tiago, what is equally heartening is that numbers of the much older Indica were up seven per cent last month, while Indigo grew by 40 per cent. Likewise, Sumo was up by 22 per cent, while the more contemporary Zest has also begun to look up. It is clear that Tiago is helping get customers back to Tata showrooms.

The Indica and Indigo have been redistributed to smaller markets since retailing them in metros may not be a prudent move. There is ready acceptability for these products, which are perceived as being sturdy with good mileage. “In rural markets, we have grown by 30 per cent. There is huge goodwill for the Tata brand and I know how customers react to our products,” says Pareek.

It is this renewed confidence that is playing a big part in readying the Hexa launch in January 2017. This SUV was displayed at the Delhi Auto Expo earlier this year and will be part of a product category that is among the fastest growing in India’s competitive auto arena.

“With Hexa, the challenge is to identify new customers and win their confidence. It is a big opportunity for us to recreate the magic and there is no reason to worry about competition,” says Pareek. There is a big engagement marketing exercise planned through Hexa events, where people will get to drive and feel the power of this off-roader. Its customers are expected to be in the age group of 35-45 years.

Pareek is amused when asked if the Tata association with its commercial vehicles business is more profound than the one with cars. “CVs are 50 years, or one golden jubilee, ahead of cars. When you begin making inroads, it is possible to build the car association too as seen with Tiago’s success. Eventually, the brand is Tata, which is powerful and represents reliability and trust,” he declares.

Published on October 12, 2016

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